Sad Glitch Girl

A Sad Announcement from Tiny Speck

This is a horrible day. This is a horrible thing to have to say: Glitch is closing. The live game/world will be closed on December 9th at 8pm Pacific time (see when this is in your time zone). The website and forums will remain available until the end of the year, so players can still communicate and find each other. Glitch HQ, the Glitch API and third party applications which rely on the Glitch API will become unavailable at the same time as the website closure.

Automatic refunds for recent purchases will begin immediately. Refunds for older transactions will need to be done manually and will be processed as quickly as possible, from most recent to oldest. For details on your payments, to request a refund, or to see the status of your refund, please visit the refund information page.

Unfortunately, Glitch has not attracted an audience large enough to sustain itself and based on a long period of experimentation and our best estimates, it seems unlikely that it ever would. And, given the prevailing technological trends — the movement towards mobile and especially the continued decline of the Flash platform on which Glitch was built — it was unlikely to do so before its time was up. Glitch was very ambitious and pushed the limits of what could be done in a browser-based game ... and then those limits pushed back.

For many of us at Tiny Speck, the creation of something like Glitch was a long-held dream. There's no better word than "heartbreaking" to describe what it feels like to have to do this. And we know that for many of you who poured your creativity, energy and imagination into Glitch and the community, it will be heartbreaking as well. We are sorry to have let you down.

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to play with you. The game was absolutely preposterous. And yet, we kind of liked it.

Why why why why?

We had ambitious goals to create a crazy, beautiful, worthwhile game with a wide audience that would be very successful, both creatively and financially — and therefore make lots of money for our employees and for our investors. But we only managed to create a crazy, beautiful game.

What will happen to the team building Glitch?

The team who created Glitch are a phenomenally talented bunch — the art, the writing, the animation, the music, the world design, the game systems and balance, the various user interfaces, the client and server code are all things of beauty. The best player support team we've ever seen! And, suddenly, many of these wonderful, hard working and exceptionally capable people are looking for new homes. If you are hiring, please see our "Hire a Specker" page.

What will happen to Tiny Speck?

Tiny Speck, the company behind Glitch, will continue. We have developed some unique messaging technology with applications outside of the gaming world and a smaller core team will be working to develop new products. But now is not the time to talk about that. Right now our concern is with the players and our comrades who are suddenly looking for new work.

How long will the game remain open?

We'll keep the game open until 8PM Pacific time, Dec 9th. We'll leave the website and forums up until the end of the year so that you can connect and keep in touch with your fellow players, take screenshots, browse the encyclopedia, and so on. We will notify all account holders by email of the site's closure in advance of that date.

Can people still sign up to play?

New account creation by the general public has been disabled. However, existing account holders are still able to invite people in order to create new accounts.

But I spent money! What about that?

We are offering refunds for all purchases made since November 1st, 2011 (a little over a year ago) and will immediately begin refunding all payments which can be refunded automatically through our payments processors (which will be nearly all of those made in the last 50 or so days).

We will then move on to manual refunds for older payments. This will take some time to wrap up since there is not always a simple way to process the payments — credit cards expire or are cancelled, PayPal accounts are closed, etc. — and we may need to collect additional information from you in order to process your refund. All purchasers will be notified by email. Refunds for gift subscriptions and credits will go to the person who purchased the gift, not to the recipient. For complete details and to check the status of your own transactions, please visit the refund information page.

I'm really angry about this!

We are really sorry. We failed you. And it is very, very painful: no-one wanted Glitch to succeed more than us. Every time we look at the game, we see the incredible effort that went into each little detail. Knowing the results of all that effort — those sketches and prototypes, those arguments and inspired discussions, those creative breakthroughs and those hard slogs through the mud — knowing all that will disappear is a terrible feeling, like losing an old friend.

We know that many of you are hurting too — many of you put enormous efforts into supporting Glitch, supporting the team, proselytizing, encouraging new players and much more. We are, really, truly, genuinely sorry. But, kind of like how "Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all," we hope the times we enjoyed will be remembered and cherished, even if they can't continue.

It was a privilege to create this with and for you, and we feel a great deal of gratitude.

Why can't you sell the game so someone else can take it over?

It's complicated, but it comes down to this: if that were a transaction that made sense to the purchaser, we wouldn't be shutting the game down.

Why don't you give the game away or make it open source or let player volunteers run it?

Glitch looks simple, but it is not. Any massively multiplayer game is several orders of magnitude more complex than a multiplayer game (and those are usually an order of magnitude more complex than a single player game). The state of the world changes hundreds of thousands of times a second, and each of those changes has to be immediately saved in a way that is safe and redundant. Most of those changes — decrease in a chicken's lifespan, the regeneration of a rock, the health of a tree, the movement of every player — have to be sent from server to server and from server to player's local computers. If you're in a busy place in Glitch, your computer might be receiving hundreds or even thousands of messages about stuff that's happening around you every second.

It takes a full-time team of competent engineers & technical operations personnel just to keep the game open. Even if there was a competent team that was willing to work on it full time for free, it would take months to train them. Even then, the cost of hosting the servers would be prohibitively expensive.

Why can't you just _______________?

If there was a way to make it work, we would make it work. But there is not. We've been through this from all angles, over and over and over. We've shed tears, and we will probably shed some more ... but Glitch is over.